A service dog is specially trained to assist human with disabilities. They provide the disable person the abilities such as hearing, smelling or seeing. Service dogs are also used to help people with medical conditions like diabetes, epilepsy, narcolepsy or severe allergies. They are trained to carry life-supporting devices, pulling a wheelchair or guiding. In the United States, service dogs are protected under the 1990 Code of Federal Regulations for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) this provide the service dog to go anywhere with their disable handler. You can see a service dog with their owner in a shopping mall, a restaurant or even a none-pet-allowed hotel. In this post, we will guide you through all the steps of getting yourself a service dog.
What types of dog should you choose?
The answer is simple, any of them. Dogs are no different to each other despite their sizes or weights. The only thing they need is a good training. But in some specific tasks like carrying or pulling heavy stuff, those with good physic will be better for the job. The smaller ones are proven to be better at medical alert services. And different types of dog have different personalities so this is something you should consider before choosing.
Step 1: Check your dog health and age status
This is really important, you don’t want your service animal to have worst health condition than you right? Make sure your dog is healthy and it should be 6 months or older. See more at
Step 2: Test its personalities
An over aggressive dog will not be good for the job since they are hard to control and obey. But on the other hand, those submissive ones are not good either. Your service dog’s personalities should be very narrow margin between these two factors. It needs to be alert, responsive and also remain calm and cool.
Step 3: Find a trainer
There is no certificate in the US for this matter, but there is some self-regulated standard. You should search for trainers with a good reputation.
Step 4: Train your dog
You must put enough time and effort on this matter. International standards have indicated that you should train your dog at least 120 hours in 6 months and sometimes 24 months in some cases. The US has no rules or requirement about this. You should focus on these factors while training your dog:
- Proofing: This makes the dog remain calm and cool to avoid all the distraction and focus on its duty.
- Heeling: This is the hardest and most difficult training. It strengthens the bond between you and your partner.
- Tasking: The most important part of the training is to teach your dog what they will do (or what you want them to do). The dog will learn what their specific tasks are.
Step 5: Public test
Let your dog outside and see if it is ready. There is no specific standard about this but you should focus on its temperament and behavior. Put your effort and love in it.
Step 6: Registration
In the US, you don’t have to have service dog registration. Your dogs are protected under the ADA but only with disabled handler.
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